May 20, 2015 Ryan Stigile

8 Excuses Church Leaders Must Eliminate

There is no question many churches are stuck. Just last month, the Pew Research Center projected about 106 million Christians will leave the faith over 40 years. (That’s over 7,000 people a day!) These findings only add to the volumes of research describing the Church in decline.

Everyone knows we have a problem. Yet far too many church leaders find it’s easier to blame external factors for the challenges they face. We will never effectively reach our communities until we shed our excuses and take responsibility for reality.

An organization cannot overcome a challenge until it begins to own the challenge.

  • Fast food chains didn’t blame customers when they stopped buying hamburgers. They responded by adding healthier options to the menu.
  • Successful newspapers didn’t get mad when readers gave up print. (Ok, some did.) But they eventually developed digital content to engage people in new ways.
  • Dish Network didn’t get upset when a younger generation gave up cable for Netflix. It developed Sling TV to let them pay less to stream channels they want.

If only every church leader responded  to challenges with willingness to own them and act. Instead, many elect to blame the most immediate cause. It’s time we start trading our excuses for real ownership. Have you found yourself or your team saying any of the following?

  1. “People just don’t see the value of church anymore.”

    Maybe you should start focusing your services on topics they value.

  1. “That megachurch opened a new campus in our town.”

    Grab a notebook and go learn something from them. I promise they aren’t trying to close your doors.

  1. “I don’t have the right people on my staff.”

    They didn’t hire themselves. Put together a plan to start developing them.

  1. “Our people aren’t open to that kind of change.”

    Your people need a courageous visionary. If God has gifted you in other ways, be honest about that. It’s important for you to be serving in your giftedness, even if that means you take another seat.

  1. “If we had more money, we could pursue a big vision.”

    If people hear a big vision, they might actually give more money.

  1. “We’re struggling to break through the “100/500/1,000 barrier.”

    There’s nothing magical about numbers that end with a zero. You’re probably struggling because you haven’t developed more leaders and built better systems.

  1. “The government forgot that we’re a Christian nation.”

    The church experienced its greatest growth when the government opposed it. It’s time to start caring about people more than politics.

  1. “We’ve been waiting for a move of God.”

    Maybe God is waiting for His people to move.

God has entrusted the Church with the most important task of building His kingdom. A mission of that size is sure to come with challenges. Start identifying them, owning them, and taking the steps required to overcome them. God only knows what you’ll accomplish when you do.

What is the excuse you need to stop using?

What is the challenge you need to start owning?

Photo Credit: totordenamur via Compfight cc

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Ryan Stigile

Ryan Stigile

Ryan Stigile serves as the Executive Pastor of Rock Bridge Community Church, a 5-campus church with campuses in Georgia and Tennessee. Previously, as Director of Expansion at NewPointe Community Church (NE Ohio), Ryan led the launch and development of new multisite campuses. With Mount Paran Church (Atlanta, GA), he guided the leadership team through a strategic change initiative to simplify and align its ministries. Ryan has a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University and degrees in business administration and discipleship ministry from Lee University. He lives in Dalton, GA with his wife Emily and their daughter, Addison.
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